Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale was born in 1837 in Lambeth, Surrey. He was a son of Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale (1803-1868) and Margaret Nightingale née Dickinson (1811-1887). On 7 January 1838 he was baptised at St Mark's Church, Kennington, where the baptismal register shows that the family were residing at High Street, Lambeth and that his father was a painter.
The 1841 census shows him living in Princes Street, Lambeth, with his parents and two sisters: Jane Nightingale (1835-1904) and Margaret Nightingale (1840-1845). His father's occupation was recorded as a painter & glazier. The 1851 census confirms that he was at 73 Princes Street, Lambeth, with his parents and two sisters: Eliza Nightingale (1843-1873) and Alice Nightingale (b.1850).
On 28 August 1859 he married Margaretta Andrews (1839-1893) in the District Church in the parish of All Saint's, Lambeth, where the marriage register shows him as a plumber & decorator and that they were both residing at 73 Princes Street.
In the 1861 census he is described as a 'Decorator & Contractor (Master, employing 5 men)', living at 25 Princes Street, Lambeth, with his wife and their son, William Benjamin Nightingale (1860-1866). He is described as a builder employing 15 men and 3 boys in the 1871 census that shows him living at 24 Albert Embankment, Lambeth, with his wife and two sons: Arthur Charles Nightingale (1869-1912) and Walter Herbert Nightingale (1870-1955).
At the time of the 1881 census he was listed as a builder employing 500 men and 40 boys. He was shown as living in Oxford Road, Putney, with his wife, four children: Florence Annie Nightingale (1872-1893), Alfred Ernest Nightingale (1875-1959), Frank Andrews Nightingale (1876-1952) and Percy Gilbert Nightingale (1878-1966), together with a female domestic servant.
On 12 May 1885 he was admitted to the Freedom of the City of London, by redemption, in the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers. His admission papers gave his business address as Albert Works, Lambeth. This is probably the building which is now 5 Glasshouse Walk, SE11. Its west face is alongside railway tracks and, as can be seen easily from passing trains, it is painted with the lettering 'B. E. Nightingale'.
The 1891 census shows him as a builder living at Kentisbeare, Atney Road, Putney, with his wife, three of their children: Arthur, Walter and Florence, two cousins: Thuila Rebecca Isabella Yessell De Schepper née Vÿfhuis (1841-1934) and Beatrice Adelaide Mary Vÿfhuis (1870-1958), together with two female domestic servants.
On the night of the 1901 census he is recorded as a builder, visiting the Hydro, Richmond Hill, Richmond, Surrey, run by Richard Metcalfe. Probate records confirm that his business address was Albert Works, Albert Embankment, Lambeth and that he died, aged 65 years, at Metcalfe's London Hydro, Richmond Hill, Richmond. His death certificate showed the cause of his death as hepatitis for 2 years, anasarca for 2 months and exhaustion. Probate was granted on 25 July 1903 to Thomas Thompson, surveyor and Frank Taylor, solicitor. His effects totalled £23,894-14s-11d.
Our image of him, his wife and six of their children was taken in 1880 in Margate, Kent. It shows, left to right: Walter Herbert, Florence Annie, Benjamin Ebenezer, Margaretta, Percy Gilbert (on mothers lap), Alfred Ernest (below), Frank Andrews (above), Arthur Charles (on far right).
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.